I never exactly know what my week is going to provide while hanging out in Huntsville. Some weeks, the calendar is not totally ”penned in”! I never know what the next phone (personal or business) call will do to change the direction of the week. My weeks are, as they say, subject to change.
A call came in on Thursday, which changed the direction of my week and had me boarding a plane to Tampa. My best childhood friend called with the sad news that his father had passed. It was very reminiscent of last August when I received a call from my sister saying my mother was in poor health and not expected to recover. My Mother left this world on her terms and as I boarded a plane to Tampa, I could not help but think that Tom’s father had done the same.
You see Tom’s parents; Betty and John Pfingsten were like my second set of parents. I was the only “blonde” kid in the family and was always introduced at family functions as their adopted son. I have incredible fond memories growing up around our houses and being involved in their family outings. I was, after all, their 8th child.
John or “Poppy”, as his grand and great grandchildren affectionately called him, was a WWII veteran who was one of the first Army Air Corps Glider Pilots. He retired as a Major in the Air Force and for the last 46 years of his life divided his time between being a loving husband, father (7 kids), grandfather (11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren), a full time lover of life and world traveler. I never saw him without a smile, I never heard anything from him but joy and laughter and I never saw him without a Budweiser or a glass of wine in his hand. He did know how to enjoy life and it was a lesson he gladly shared with anyone willing to sit down, listen and have a drink with him.
It saddens me to think that in just 1 year, in the same calendar month, I have lost two individuals that had such a profound affect on my life. With my mother, it goes without saying! I cannot help but think back on the fond memories of time shared with both and know that I am a much better person because of them. It does bring to mind just how precious family and friends are and once again serves notice as to just how fragile life is.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of my mother and now, I have “Poppy” to add to my list. They will be forever missed but never forgotten.
As I look to the skies I can only imagine the times they are having together telling the tales, reminiscing and laughing about my and Tom’s exploits. My only hope is that they do not compare notes to closely!! We didn’t tell them everything, you know. Some how though, I think they knew!!
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Best regards ………. dK